Gephardt Daily

Review: ‘Odettes’ in Ogden adds warmth, original music to the holidays

From left, Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin, Mack and Sammee Lydia James. Photo: Good Company Theatre

OGDEN, Utah, Dec. 13, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — If you can’t be with your longtime friends for the holidays, Ogden’s Good Company Theatre Company can fix you up with some entertaining substitutes from years gone by.

The theater is remounting its 2014 original production, “Odettes for the Holidays,” with book and music by Camille Washington. Her sister, Alicia Washington, directed the show, and the two co-direct the company.

“Odettes” is set at the rehearsal for a ’70s holiday reunion show of a ’60s three-member “girl group.” Veterans Della and Dori will appear, and Deloris, who has passed away, will be replaced by her daughter, Regina.

Clockwise from left, Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin, Mack, Sammee Lydia James,
and Laikwan Waigwa-Stone. Photo: Good Company Theatre

The original three singers were friends from childhood, and shared the giddy good times and the disappointments that made them who they are.

Hurt feelings do remain, but what would a sentimental holiday journey be without at least one guilt trip?

The half dozen or so songs that punctuate the plot are sung by Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin (Della), Mack (Dori) and Sammee Lydia James (Regina), and backed by Laikwan Waigwa-Stone (longtime accompanist Woody). The small cast has serious singing and acting chops.

The women’s singing voices are strong, and the acting seems natural, although some of the dialogue seems a little forced. The original songs are fun, and lyrics are simple. Maybe even more fun is watching the rhythmic dance moves that play directly off lyrics, in ’60s style.

Speaking of which, anyone who remembers the 1970s will get a knowing laugh out of the earth-tone fashions and the zipper-front jumpsuit.

One small distraction was the squeaking of the multi-level set, given the amount of walking the three women do in the course of the show. But it’s only the second show in Good Company Theatre’s new space, at 2404 Wall Ave., so you can’t really blame them for celebrating their size upgrade.

The show lasts just 1 hour and 15 minutes, and offers a nice break from a rushed holiday season. Check it out.

“Odettes for the Holiday” plays Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m., and on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 4 p.m., continuing through Dec. 23. Tickets are $17 through goodcotheatre.com or at the door. It is recommended for ages 10 and older.

Laikwan Waigwa-Stone. Photo: Good Company Theatre